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Kuranda: The Essential Addition to any Cairns Itinerary

Updated: 3 days ago

The city of Cairns is located in Tropical North QLD, Australia. It is often referred to as one of the gateways to the Great Barrier Reef, as well as being home to the beautiful Daintree Rainforest. It is not short on activities and there are many essential things to do in this city. In addition, Cairns is home to Kuranda, which is known as the ‘village in the rainforest’. It is one of the most popular attractions in Cairns and you are about to see why.

Guest Blogger: Tash Matt, Find Tash

How do I get to Kuranda?

The easiest way to get to Kuranda is via the scenic railway. The train leaves from the station, which is located opposite the main shopping centre. This shopping centre can be reached via car, bus, taxi or uber depending on where you are staying in Cairns. This train is available to reach Kuranda, as well as the journey back into Cairns.

The other way you can get back to Cairns is via the Skyrail Cableway, which I highly recommend if you aren’t scared of heights. Kuranda is also accessible via public bus or car and there is adequate parking available.

What's the Scenic Rail?

The Scenic Railway is one of those once in a lifetime experiences. It starts it Cairns and travel through the rainforest to Kuranda. As a result, the train passes through the breath-taking Barron Gorge National Park.

The train stops about halfway to admire and take photos of Barron Falls, which are located in the midst of the National Park. The scenery along the while train ride is beautiful and there is a running commentary about the area & history.

Whats the Skyrail Cable?

The Skyrail Cableway is a common way to end the day and travel back to Cairns from Kuranda. It travels through the same National Park as the Scenic Railway, but from a new perspective. It offers views from above the gorge, as well as of the Great Barrier Reef and Cairns City towards the end of the cableway.

I want to point out that there is no transport into the city from the end of the cableway unless you have booked a tour with a private company. I suggest calling a taxi or using an Uber to get back to accommodation in Cairns. 

What Activities are offered?

The Kuranda Village has a large variety of activities to experience. The first section you will see when you get off the train is the main food and shopping area. There are markets, as well as stores selling locally sourced/made goods e.g. art, jewellery, coffee sweeties etc. 

In addition, the village features a trio of animal attractions. These include the butterfly sanctuary, bird world and the koala gardens. I think these are a must do activity and particularly if you are not an Australian native, as you may see some animals you have not seen before. I’d recommend going to the koala gardens to be able to see the quokkas alone. 

This is a particularly good activity is you have young children, as these sanctuaries can be interactive. For example, Bird Word allows you to walk inside a giant aviary.

There is food to purchase and feed the birds, but the birds will come and sit on people’s head & shoulders even if they do not have food. This is equally as fun for adults as it is for all of the children.

What Eating Choices are Available?

This is an aspect of the day that Kuranda has covered. There are 32 choices of places to eat in the villiage. These include cafes, restaurants, pubs, fish & chips shops, tea rooms, takeaway pizza, sushi boxes and lots more! These good options are spread all over Kuranda Village and it’s best to take a look at a map if you have any specific places in mind to visit.  Can I Stay at Kuranda?  The most popular option is to do a day trip to Kuranda, but it is possible to stay on-site  There are a few different options including AirBnB, camping, accommodation park or resort.

Find Cheap Accommodation in Kuranda

How Accessible is Kuranda?  Kuranda is accessible for people of all ages and including individuals with a disability. There are coach transfers to Kuranda, which offer wheelchair accessibility. In addition, the Scenic Railway is wheelchair friendly, as well as the rainforest canopy walk and Barron Falls lookout. These are accessible from both Kuranda Village and as stops on the Skyrail.  The Skyrail Cableway is wheelchair accessible, but with certain restrictions. There are requirements in terms of the width, length and weight of the chair, which you can find out on this webpage

How do I Book Transport and Tickets?

The day trip to Kuranda is offered through various different tour companies, which are available to be booked online or through accommodation and travel agents. However, QLD Rail is the main service provider selling the various packages to Kuranda. They sell the train and Skyrail tickets alone or packages for the day, which allows you to add various activities. 

Should I Include Kuranda in a Cairns Itinerary?

Definitely! This is one of the best day tours in Cairns and is suitable for all ages. There are many activities on offer, as well as shopping opportunities.

It is the perfect place to experience Australian wildlife and find some delicious spot to have lunch or dinner. This village has it all and offers a plethora of different activities to experience all in one place.  References:  Kuranda. (2019). Kuranda Village In The Rainforest, Cairns, Queensland - (07) 4093 9311. [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 Aug. 2019]. (2019). Kuranda Day Tour For Disabled Travellers. [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 Aug. 2019].

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